- Are YOU Patient or Just the Patient?
Are YOU Patient or Just the Patient?
Busy people create busy lives. And busy lives tend to emit a sense of continuous hurry in which waiting for anything never appears to be an option. After a while the tiring nature of our busyness has us stop and reflect, hear the inner call for a slower pace, feel the need for a pause in space and realise the need for a break from ‘the race’.
Have you ever played a waiting game? People sometimes do it in their relationships. Teams sometimes do it during periods of the game itself. Have you ever consciously decided not to hurry something, somehow knowing, deep within, that everything will happen in the right way at the right time? The older and mellower amongst us tend to do it. Have you ever decided not to rush somewhere realising you cannot make yourself arrive faster than your mode of transport, and that you cannot control what gets in the way? Bus drivers learn to do it. Even in the midst of a grand priz, racing drivers have to do it.
Patience is one of those virtues that can transform a moment of high anxiety into quiet relaxation, a rush of mental agitation into the smooth flowing river that life can be. In the presence of a patient person we are surrounded by an aura of calm as we are pulled into the tranquil light of their unhurriedness. Even when they are busy, the quality of their busy-ness still radiates patience. Perhaps they heard Emerson’s advice to, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience”. Nature is almost always ‘patiently busy’, either visibly or invisibly. While most people might admit to being impatient in some area of their life, not many know how to free themselves from their quickening anxieties. Many, if not most, would probably say that they would rather not be so impatient, that they do want to be more patient, but the only problem is they want it now! Obviously restoring a little more patience to our life will require some … patience!
So how can we be more patient? Can we just decide to become a patient person? Can patience be a permanent thread woven through our personality? How do we create patience?
The Art of Visualisation
Being patient is a creative process. It involves bringing together a variety of ingredients in an initial process of visualisation. The first step is to admit and acknowledge our impatient trait is entirely our own creation. It’s not the late train or failing delivery service, it’s us that makes us impatient. We have created and sustained the impatient ‘habit’, so we can create and sustain patience. And like all our other creations the process begins on the screen of our mind. That is where we conceive, believe and achieve patience ‘in rehearsal’, before we step onto the stage of daily life. That’s where we create both the image and feeling of being patient. To do that we will need to draw on a variety of inner resources.
The Power of Our Peace
The first resource is a ‘felt inner peace’. This is the peace of our heart, the peace that can never be taken from us, but which we do lose awareness of. Peace is the foundation energy of patience. If we cannot draw on our inner peace, patience will be almost impossible. Meditation is the journey of no distance in one second into our ‘spiritual heart’ (the heart of our consciousness) and an unlimited supply of pure peace.
The Wisdom of Acceptance
Our inner peace can only travel from our heart to our mind when we no longer want to change what is. The moment we accept everyone and everything as we find them, without any resistance, is the moment the power of love, your love, you, are able to embrace life in its totality, as it is. That alone is quite a challenge for many of us as we have a tendency to spend too much time and energy in our minds. It’s there that we judge others, hurry others and try to ‘fix’ the problems of the world, under the illusion that it’s our job, and that we can!
Our peace and our acceptance are like two primary colours which, when mixed together, create contentment. We cannot be patient unless we are content in our self, with our self and with the world, in this moment now. This also requires the realisation that there is only now. Only then will all attempts to escape into the future or hide in the past, come to an end.
Building Your Faith
Only in this still, quiet, yet dynamic state of contentment, which is not passive or submissive, but alert and available, can we hear and feel the wisdom that comes from the truth that we already hold deep in our heart. Intuitively we now know all is well and that all will be well. Our faith in life itself emerges as an intuitive knowingness that, in the words of that now famous and well circulated text called Desiderata, “all is unfolding exactly as it should”. v Restoring True Freedom
Only once we are at peace, with the capacity to accept, be contented, and with a faith in life that has no opposite, can we ‘see’ and realise that we no longer need to get something from outside our self. This marks the end of compulsive desiring, the death of constant craving (for anything) and the restoration of our inner freedom. Nothing need be sought, for everything is already present within the self. In that moment all impatience is seen for what it is, a temporary lack of faith in the universe, in life, in the self. Impatience is the absence of the confidence that life will show up with exactly what we need when we need it to simply live.
The realisation of this, the deepest freedom, signals the end of the slavery to the ‘incessant wanting’ of something…now! There is a transformation of our intention. We now know all that we ever needed is already within us. Life ceases to be about waiting impatiently for what we want or expect, and starts to be focussed around giving what we have. Every moment is seen as an opportunity to be ‘the giver’ of the energy of our life. Not as a sacrifice or as an obligation, but as a gift. Time, attention, guidance, warmth, acceptance and many other gestures all become the real gifts, the true gifts, which require no expenditure and no packaging.
Impatience makes us ‘a patient’ in life. It means one of the above ingredients is temporarily missing. Each ingredient is always present within our being, but they are temporarily lost to our awareness. Until our patience is restored, life itself is a healing process. Each moment that we attempt to force an outcome, each moment of anxious waiting or expectant desire, is simply deepening a wound that will eventually require the healing balm of peace and the acceptance that comes from the spiritual ointment we call love.
Perhaps the most valuable application of the virtue of patience is its ability to bring wisdom back to life. In most western cultures, when things appear to be going wrong, we have the tendency to shout, “Don’t just sit there, do something!” Whereas, in the ancient east there was the tendency to whisper, “Don’t just do something, sit there.”. In such moments we are acknowledging the need to allow a deeper wisdom to inform our responses, and not allow knee jerk mental reactions to rule our minds and hearts. Wisdom however, does not appear in the auditorium of our consciousness on demand. An invitation must be sent to our heart, and then a patient wait is required before a reply is received. Perhaps this is why the wise and the patient know that patience and wisdom are the best of friends and inseparable companions. Perhaps this is why the farmer’s wisdom is patience itself, and the gardener’s patience is wisdom in itself.
Question: In what areas of your life are you currently impatient and why?
Reflection: Which of the above ingredients of patience do you think are missing most (rate each on a scale of one to ten).
Action: Take each one of the above on separate day during this coming week and contemplate it, reflect on it, explore its meaning and see what it awakens, shifts and perhaps heals within you.
Follow no one but learn from every one.
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